Traditional suitcases are the perfect travel companion when it comes to bringing a sizable amount of clothes and gear for extended time away. However, if you’re just taking a short trip — a weekend, say, or a simple day-long sojourn — a travel backpack might very well be all you need.
Not only can travel backpacks carry and provide easy access to all the essentials, such as your phone, water bottle, a change of clothes, and even a laptop, but they also travel incredibly well, often fitting under the airplane seat or in the overhead bin without a problem.
However, not all backpacks are created equal, so it pays to invest in one that best serves your needs, be it a weather-proof daypack designed for the outdoors or a sleek, business-appropriate option with a padded sleeve that protects your laptop or tablet.
No matter what your budget or taste level, you’ll find what you’re looking for among the best travel backpacks on Amazon right now.
Things To Consider With Travel Backpacks
Overall, travel backpacks are designed with comfort, style, and organization in mind. With such limited space, you’re going to want to keep everything in its rightful place. However, certain details, such as the type of material, interior pockets, and built-in features, all play a part in how easy they are to use on the go.
Fashion vs. Function
Be it scaling a mountain or heading into the office — in the end, whatever we’re doing, we all want to look good doing it. That said, it pays to compromise on the way a backpack looks if it will serve you better in the long run.
For example, minimalistic backpacks with just a few features and minimal interior and exterior pockets are as stylish as they are easy to use, but they offer less versatility when it comes to carrying technical accessories (such as camera lenses or climbing gear).
At the same time, tricked-out backpacks with tons of bells and whistles (hooks for climbing carabiners or rope, mesh pockets for water bottles or wet rain gear) can be overkill if you’re simply visiting your local park or bopping between cities — not to mention an eyesore in an office setting.
It’s worth looking into the quality and durability of the backpack you choose to make sure that it will stand up to whatever environment you plan to wear it in.
Travel Laptop Backpacks
One of if not the largest selling point of any travel backpack is its ability to carry that can’t-live-without-it essential: a laptop. With global nomadism on the rise like never before, being able to bring your work device on the road has become a non-negotiable part of the business travel lifestyle.
While many backpacks are able to fit a 13-inch MacBook Air without problem, you’ll need to make sure you invest in a bigger bag if you plan on toting around a 15-inch laptop (or larger). In addition to the extra space, travel laptop backpacks go above and beyond in protecting that expensive piece of luggage by adding extra padding or retrofitted sleeves to keep the device snug and secure.
Backpacks With Wheels
You read that right. While originally designed to be thrown onto your back, some backpacks come with wheels for even easier transport over flat surfaces — these come in handy when your pack is extra heavy and you’re racing through a terminal to catch your flight (or trying to navigate a narrow airplane or train aisle).
If this sounds like an all-too-familiar scenario, it might be worth investing in a travel backpack equipped with wheels that you can glide to your next destination. Of course, wheeled backpacks also come with setbacks, including being overly cumbersome for carrying long distances and not as flexible size-wise, possibly exceeding carry-on size requirements.
The 6 Best Black Friday Travel Backpacks for Men
1. Samsonite Classic Leather Backpack
Best For: Business Professionals
Samsonite‘s leather backpack is all class and no gimmicks. For business travelers who fly frequently and need a piece of luggage that looks as good as it functions, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal than this.
The sleek, simple leather exterior is as chic as it is understated, but there’s even more to love beneath the surface.
The interiors were designed for the multiple-devices business lifestyle: there’s a padded laptop sleeve that can fit 2 16-inch laptops, while a front organizer pocket features pockets specifically designed to carry tablets, pens, and up to 2 phones. There’s also a mesh zip-up sleeve for stashing miscellaneous stowaways like paper clips or flash drives.
Another convenient feature is the leather handle stitched onto the back that easily loops over a carry-on suitcase handle for even easier transport on the road or in the terminal.
The backpack comes in cognac brown, as well as classic black, and is sturdy enough to withstand bumps and jostles as you travel between cities, hotels, and board meetings. That said, the leather exterior is not waterproof, so be sure to pack an umbrella if rain is in the forecast.
2. Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack
Best For: Outdoor Adventure
Osprey‘s Porter 46 Travel Backpack fits a deceptively large amount of stuff, making it a favorite for adventurers seeking a lightweight carry-all for their gear.
While this model meets carry-on restrictions for most airlines, the front-loading pockets are extra roomy, featuring a lockable sleeve that fits most 15-inch laptops, a front panel for easy-to-reach travel documents, and an innovative U-zip design that makes packing and unpacking a breeze. In other words, no more ripping out an entire bag’s contents because you can’t see what you’re looking for due to a narrow top flap.
Even during lengthy trips outdoors in the elements, the padded back and side handles, not to mention the lightweight durable nylon, stay molded to your body for all-day comfort. And when the backache sets in, Osprey’s signature 2-in-1 design allows the shoulder straps and hip belt to be stowed away, instantly converting the backpack into a duffel bag.
Hot Tip: Does the 46-liter pack sound too large, or too small, for your travel needs? The Osprey Porter also comes in a carry-on-compatible 30-liter version, as well as a larger 65-liter model for lengthier treks.
3. Pacsafe LS350 Anti-Theft 15L Backpack
Best For: Safety
Traveling anywhere with a bag, be it a foreign country or in your local neighborhood, poses a risk that your things might get stolen. For risk-averse travelers who want to keep the odds in their favor, there’s no better option for safeguarding your possessions, and yourself, than an anti-theft backpack.
Pacsafe is one of the leading manufacturers of anti-theft backpacks, and the LS 350 version might be its best. Its zippers are lockable, the water-resistant nylon-and-polyester material is layered with a lightweight steel mesh on the inside that’s resistant to cuts and tears, and there are even 2 RFID-blocking pockets that keep your credit cards and ID safe from illegal wireless scanners.
Safety measures aside, this pack is also pretty comfortable. The adjustable shoulder straps and back panel are both padded for extra support on your shoulders and spine. The bag also weighs less than 2 pounds on its own while boasting interiors roomy enough to carry whatever it is you want to bring that day — a DSLR camera, a 13-inch laptop, headphones, or even a chunky sweater.
Best of all, Pacsafe’s 5-year warranty ensures that if you’re not completely satisfied with your bag’s performance, you get your money back.
4. Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW III
Best For: Camera Gear
Camera gear is tricky to travel with. Lenses, tripods, hard drives, and camera bodies themselves are awkwardly shaped, heavy, and almost always expensive, which makes choosing the right bag to carry them in one of the most important purchases you can make.
Professional photographers often travel with multiple pieces of luggage in order to tote all their equipment around, but casual photographers can get away with just the basics. Lowepro has become a go-to name in the travel photography and video world because its bags are specifically designed to safely hold and transport camera gear.
Like its name suggests, the Lowepro Fastpack is for travelers who prefer quick, easy access to their gear on the road. To ensure that, this backpack is divided into 2 zones — the bottom compartment is reserved for your camera, which features a side-entry zipper for fast access, while the top section includes small stash pockets and a zip-up sleeve for all those extra loose items like hard drives, charger cables, and your smartphone.
There’s also a padded zip-up pocket in the back that holds 13-inch laptops (or smaller) as well as a stretch-mesh side pocket and side-mounted strap that can secure a tripod or water bottle.
Because weighty equipment can make this bag heavy, Lowepro also added some hideaway straps in the back so that travelers have the option of securing the bag to the handle of a rolling suitcase for easier transport.
Planning on hiking once you reach your destination? A padded waist belt helps keep the bag secure on your back in uneven terrain or can be completely removed if you find it unnecessary.
5. SWISSGEAR 5358 USB ScanSmart Laptop Backpack
Best For: Frequent Flyers
The Swiss are renowned for their punctuality — they’re still the world’s best watchmakers, after all — and this mindset feeds directly into SWISSGEAR‘s ScanSmart backpack. Everything about this bag is designed to get you through security and onto your flight without so much as a hiccup.
The large, lay-flat back panel includes a separate padded laptop compartment that is TSA-friendly so you can breeze through the security line. There’s also a U-zip front pocket, which is perfect for stashing those loose pens, keys, documents, and other small travel essentials.
Where this bag truly excels, though, are those extra features that go beyond the call of duty.
For example, the center compartment features an internal panel that can transform into side-access storage for a pair of shoes. The phone-charging station is another nice touch. There’s even a soft, “crush-resistant” sunglasses compartment as well as an insulated side pocket designed to keep your water bottle cool.
The stylish black-with-red-trim look is a sleek, signature look for the brand, but behind this bag’s classy design are a few rugged features that easily transition into outdoor use, including weather-resistant 1200D ballistic polyester material and mesh-paneled shoulder straps that increase ventilation to fend off sweat.
Hot Tip: Keep in mind that while this bag comes with a built-in USB port for charging devices on the go, the battery pack costs extra.
6. Oakley Men’s Kitchen Sink Backpack
Best For: Everything and the Kitchen Sink
Ever feel like you could use an extra limb with all the wacky, technical bits of equipment you find yourself traveling with? We’re looking at you, gadget collectors, engineering students, and heavy-duty adventurers!
Oakley wasn’t kidding when they named this backpack the “Kitchen Sink.” This large bag has so many functions, you might find yourself bringing things along just because you can.
Expect your standard features — abrasion-resistant fabric, room to fit shoes and most laptops, mesh-lined shoulder straps to keep you cool, and a padded back to keep you comfortable — along with a few less-standard details, which makes this bag stand out.
This includes a headphone port, a bottom storage space for shoes that includes drainage ports for wet or dirty items, 3 metal front hooks for strapping on extra items (like climbing carabiners or keys), and heavy-duty clamps that keep the backpack closed, even at full capacity.
Not sold on the specs? Just read the reviews, which overly praise this bag for its spaciousness, sturdiness, and the fact that it stays comfortable even when packed to the brim.
The 6 Best Black Friday Travel Backpack Deals for Women
1. Ytonet Laptop Backpack With USB Charging Port
Best For: Spacious Versatility
Don’t be fooled by the delicate gray hue of Ytonet’s Laptop Backpack — this bag punches way above its weight in terms of all it can do.
What sets it apart is its rectangular shape that it retains due to a steel frame that allows more room for storing a large number of items. Books, shoes, and up to a 15.6-inch laptop and 10.5-inch iPad can be held snug thanks to a Velcro strap.
In addition, a large flat top can be fully opened, exposing all 11 inches by 6.5 inches of the bag’s interior for an extra-wide view of its contents.
There’s an external USB charging port for your phone in addition to an internal charging cable, and there are side pockets for water bottles and hidden pockets for personal documents. Plus, 2 thick top handles provide an alternative to hoisting this large bag on your back for too long.
From books to diapers and overnights to weekend excursions, this bag can carry it all.
2. Fjällräven Kånken Classic Backpack for Everyday
Best For: Stylish Simplicity
This Swedish outdoor outfitter has been around since the ’60s but only recently took the fashion world by storm with its Kånken backpacks.
Originally designed in 1978 to combat back problems for schoolchildren, these collectible backpacks have become a global fashion statement, beloved as much for their collectible color combinations as they are for their lightweight, streamlined design.
The bag is made of Fjällräven’s signature “Vinylon F” material that is dirt- and water-resistant and wipes clean. The Kånken also features 2 side pockets as well as a front zippered pocket and reflective logo. While not practical for longer or more arduous journeys (toting your laptop or other heavier materials is not recommended), these bags nonetheless make great day packs for trips to the park or the city.
3. Timbuk2 Authority Laptop Backpack
Best For: Maximal Organization
Are you one of those travelers that just throws things into a bag on your way out the door, only to struggle to find where you put X, Y, and Z the rest of your trip? TIMBUK2’s Authority Backpack is here to organize your essentials and your life.
This backpack is on the heavier side — around 2 and a half pounds — but everything is there for a reason.
The oversized main compartment can fit a 17-inch laptop with ease. A neoprene pocket is designed specifically to keep your water bottle cool. Those seemingly endless sleeves and compartments? Cell phones, chargers, cords, and pens all have a home. There’s even a handy key fob so you’ll never have to dig for your keys again.
With so many pockets and an easy-to-navigate interior — not to mention a stylish exterior — this bag does the hard work for you, keeping everything in its rightful place so you can get through each day without a hitch.
4. Incase ICON Dot Backpack
Best For: Business Trips
Hot Tip: Save an extra 20% when you apply the coupon located below the price!
Travelers seeking function without fuss will love the look and feel of Incase’s ICON Dot Backpack, whose minimalist exterior keeps zippers and flaps to a minimum while the interior works overtime to keep your belongings safe, secure, and organized.
The interior compartment is lined with faux fur, so you can stuff in a 13-inch laptop or tablet while keeping any exposed screens scratch-free. Additional storage pockets and compartments are there for holding the rest of your items, like notebooks, pens, headphones, and accessories.
The stylishly simple outer shell comes in classic black, though its pros don’t stop at its good looks. Incase’s 840D ballistic nylon is built to withstand tougher bumps and scratches — a godsend when you’re navigating public transportation, security lines, and overnight hotel stays.
Another unique, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it feature? A top pocket that is the perfect size for your cell phone.
5. Osprey Fairview 40 Women’s Travel Backpack
Best For: Adventure Travel
While women and men can use most of Osprey’s bags interchangeably, the Osprey Fairview 40 was designed specifically to contour to the female body shape for comfort that lasts day in and day out.
The key is in the hip belt and patented LightWire frame suspension that redistributes some of the backpack’s weight to the waist instead of the shoulders.
Interiors maximize the bag’s usefulness on the road as well, with an easy-to-access large zippered pocket with stash pockets that can hold your sunglasses, water bottle, and other travel accessories with ease. Off-trail, a padded laptop sleeve means you can just as easily use this for business purposes or weekends away.
The 40-liter bag is all most travelers will need in terms of space, but 55- and 70-liter bags are also available if you’re seeking additional storage for a longer or more technical trip.
6. Matein Laptop Backpack
Best For: Affordable Dependability
The fact that Matein’s laptop backpack retains a 5-star rating even after over whopping 50,000 Amazon reviewers weighed in should tell you all you need to know about this product.
Up to 2 15-inch laptops can fit inside its roomy compartments, and there is a built-in USB port for charging your phone on the go.
Between the comfort of its padded back and shoulder straps, the durability of its water-resistant polyester exterior, and the surplus of compartments (enough to fit your pens, keys, gadgets, and documents), this is an all-around winner for almost every traveler, all for an incredibly affordable price.
Hot Tip: From toddlers to teens, we also have a guide to the best travel backpacks for kids.
A backpack is one of the most essential accessories a traveler can buy — especially if your laptop is a frequent companion. This portable piece of luggage keeps your gear safe and everything in its rightful place, with serious style to boot.
Of course, you can spend a pretty penny to maximize looks or extra features. However, the best Black Friday deals on Amazon will go far in helping your score a lot for much less.